The pregame pump-up song blares from the locker room of co-op Maine Township, and veteran coach Mike Tompkins plays the air-guitar.
Crosley Duckmann and his teammates sing every word, yelling at many points.
Maine has skated this season with Wagon Wheel, from Old Crow Medicine Show, launching their success.
Maine is 13-5-2 in its first 20 games, and 9-1-1 in North Central action. The team has scored 65 goals in its first 11 league games, the most in the Hull East Division and second-most overall in the North Central, only behind the 69 scored in the first 11 games played by the co-op BG/H/W Stampede.
“That song gets us going,” said Duckmann, a sophomore who lives in Des Plaines and attends Maine West.
Senior Mike Rooney (Maine South) added: “(The song) helps with our team chemistry before games and keeps our team loose.”
Duckmann, 16, is a right-handed shooting defenseman in his first season on the Maine varsity. He sports jersey No. 38 and his 6-foot, 165-pound frame certainly is a physical presence in pads.
He has 3 goals, 4 assists in 10 league games, with 2 power-play and 1 game-winning goal.
“Crosley is a solid defenseman (who) brings a lot to the table with his commitment, speed and strength,” said Tompkins, in his third year as Maine Township head coach and his 26th season overall coaching.
TJ Karavos, the team’s defensive coach, added: “Crosley has been a big surprise this year for us. Not in the sense that we’re surprised at his talent level, but just in how he’s adjusted so quickly to playing big minutes for a varsity team as a sophomore. It’s fun to come to a practice where you have a kid like Crosley willing to soak in everything you’re teaching. He’s become a leader on this team by his play and work ethic, no doubt about it.”
Duckmann is one of only two Maine West students on the team, and he’s following the skates of his brother, James, 18, who also played for the team.
Duckmann also was the Warriors’ All-Conference second baseman last season who batted .318 in conference play in the leadoff or No. 2 spot in the batting order.
Also this year, he played varsity golf.
“With him being a three-sport varsity student-athlete and still keeping his grades up, I admire his strength on and off of the ice,” Tompkins said.
Due to his sporting resume, Duckmann said he is “really busy,” thus doesn’t get to hang out with friends as often as he’d like, when watching movies or playing video games often are on the slate.
Baseball, he said, is his best sport, and conditioning for baseball has helped him on the ice. And, “golf and hockey kind of have a similar swing,” he noted.
An offensive-minded defenseman, Duckmann said Maine Township has talented passers and good teamwork — and they clearly eye a spot in the state championship game next March.
“Everyone really gets along and many of us have been playing together for a while, so there’s good team chemistry,” Duckmann said. “I feel I’m a pretty solid defenseman, especially in our defensive end of the ice. I’m pretty quick on my feet and can move the puck well.
“I really think we have a chance to win state.”
Duckmann and many of his Maine Township teammates were playing together, oh, about seven years ago when they won an NIHL championship.
“It’s not too weird (having so few Maine West teammates); I’ve kind of gotten used to it. It just seems normal to me,” Duckmann said.
Thanksgiving is a very busy time for local teams as Stevenson and Loyola Academy each play host to annual tournaments with a combined 30 teams participating, all but one from the Chicagoland area.
Ÿ Stevenson Tournament, with all games played at Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove. The 16-team field includes Crystal Lake South, Libertyville, York and Warren. Prediction: Stevenson defeats co-op BG/H/W 4-3 in the championship game (4:15 p.m., on Sunday).
Ÿ Loyola Tournament, with all games played at Centennial Ice Rink in Wilmette. The field includes Barrington, Sandburg, St. Viator, Benet and Highland Park. Prediction: New Trier Green defeats Glenbrook North, 3-2, in the championship game (3:30 p.m., on Sunday).
Ÿ PREP Tournament, with all games played all games played at the West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows. The field includes Evanston, Oak Park Park River Forest and the co-op CHFS (Conant, Hoffman Estates, Fremd and Schaumburg). Prediction: Evanston defeats Oak Park River Forest 6-3 in the championship game (4:50 p.m., on Sunday).Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.